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Which brands won the social media Super Bowl?

Super Bowl 2023 saw Apple takeover Pepsi’s long standing role as the official sponsor of the halftime show, earning Apple thousands of mentions across social platforms. Emplifi’s Kyle Wong looks at how Apple and other brands scored big on social media during this year’s Super Bowl.

(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz / Getty Images)

The Kansas City Chiefs’ triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles during Super Bowl 2023 drew an average audience of 113 million viewers on traditional TV and digital platforms. It was the third-most-watched television show of all time and the most-watched Super Bowl since 2017

The game was extraordinary (up until that last call maybe), but marketers know there’s always a secondary competition happening between the Super Bowl brands on social media platforms. This year’s lineup of Super Bowl advertisers did not disappoint: Fox Corp reported record Super Bowl revenue from brand advertising of $600 million, driving a 4% increase in ad revenue for the quarter. 

To find out which Big Game brands scored big in the social media Super Bowl, Emplifi put its social listening dashboard to work. Here’s what we uncovered.   

Brands that won: Apple, Tubi, Bud Light and more

When looking at the brands that aired spots during the game, Tubi, Bud Light and Doritos generated a massive amount of buzz across Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Tubi earned 4,391 mentions and Bud Light was close behind with 4,378 mentions. Doritos earned a little more than 3,500 mentions. 

But the most mentioned brand for the night was Apple with nearly 10,000 mentions during a 24-hour period. As the official sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show, it’s no surprise Apple’s mentions across social platforms skyrocketed compared to other Super Bowl brands. This was Apple’s first year as the official sponsor – a title that had previously belonged to Pepsi which had been the official sponsor since 2013.

Super Bowl brands that made the biggest impression

Apple may have won the most mentions, but Dunkin’ Donuts led when tracking estimated potential impressions. The brand captured 507 million impressions, 176 million more impressions than Apple (which earned 331 million impressions). FanDuel and Sketchers also racked up a respectable number of impressions with 101 million and 87 million respectively. 

Impressions may not carry the same weight as mentions when analyzing Super Bowl brand engagement, but high impressions generally mean that prominent, high-profile pages – with high follower counts – were mentioning and retweeting the brand during the game. 

Social interactions: Apple takes the win

Being the official sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show – especially with a performance as spectacular as Rihanna’s – has its benefits. Among the full roster of Super Bowl brands, Apple not only saw the most impressions, but also generated the most engagement on mentioned posts. 

Dunkin’ did not pull as many mentions as Apple, Tumi, Bud Light and Doritos, but the brand’s choice to feature Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez paid off. Social posts and Tweets that mentioned Dunkin’ saw a high rate of engagement, garnering nearly 430K interactions between Feb. 12 and Feb. 13. 

Credit: Emplifi

 

Overall, Super Bowl brands accumulated more than 1.4 million total mentions during Super Bowl week with the bulk of mentions happening on game day. 

The Super Bowl continues to be the biggest sporting event in the US, delivering an audience that is often as excited about the ads as they are the game. In fact, surveys have revealed that as much as 43% of Super Bowl viewers watch the Super Bowl for the ads – that number goes up to 60% when looking solely at female survey respondents.

Even more fascinating: The National Retail Federation predicted Super Bowl fans would spend $16.5 billion this year, purchasing things like food, drinks, apparel and decorations for the day. 

You don’t have to be an official Super Bowl brand to capitalize on the event, but you do have to be smart about how you manage your social ad campaigns. Having the right social tools in place allows all advertisers – not just Super Bowl brands – to tap into the conversations happening on social platforms in real-time, maximizing ad spend and driving measurable outcomes.

Kyle Wong is a founder, tech expert and frequent media commentator. Kyle’s currently chief of strategy at Emplifi, a customer engagement platform. He is a regular speaker on topics like influencer marketing, UGC, digital marketing, entrepreneurship and various leadership and career topics.

 

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